Top 5 Swimming Races of the Past Decade

Some people love football games, others like basketball. Personally, I love a great swimming race. In many of the most popular sports, there are many elements involved, which can take away from the head-to-head battle between two great athletes. Swimming requires the swimmer to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders for the event. This is why I love swimming and watching swimming. If you're a swim nerd like me, you go on Youtube and watch great historic duels between Tom Jager and Matt Biondi or more recently Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett. 

This list contains the top 5 swimming races of the past decade. Enjoy!

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Nathan Adrian Wins Men's 100m Freestyle Gold - London 2012 Olympics

Nathan Adrian
Nathan Adrian celebrates winning the final of the men's 100 meter freestyle on Day Four of the 2009 ConocoPhillips Nationals Championships & World Championship Trials on July 10, 2009. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Heading into the 2012 Olympics James Magnussen was the clear favorite in the 100 free. At the Olympics, Nathan Adrian had other plans holding off the Aussie, by touching him out by 0.01.

In this race, Nathan Adrian (USA) set a time of 47.52 to beat James Magnussen's (AUS) time of 47.53 to win the men's 100m freestyle gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games (1 August).

The tight race was completed with Canada's Brent Hayden winning the bronze medal.

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Ye Shiwen Wins 200m Women's 200m Individual Medley - World Championships in 2011

Ye Shiwen. Getty Images.

Unknown at the time, Ye Shiwen of China made her name with a bang at the 2011 World Championships. This 15-year-old ran down a fast field on the final freestyle leg, passing up Alicia Coutts and Ariana Kukors. This was the first of many races where Shiwen passed the field on the freestyle leg for the title (she moved from 5th to 1st on the final 50!).

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Park Tae Hwan Wins Men's 400m Freestyle - World Championships in 2012

Park Taehwan, South Korea; Michael Phelps, United States; Peter Vanderkaay, United States
Silver medalist Park Taehwan of South Korea, gold medalist Michael Phelps of the United States and bronze medalist Peter Vanderkaay of the United States stand on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m Freestyle. Clive Rose/Getty Images

South Korea's Park Tae Hwan won the men's 400-meter freestyle final at the 2012 World Championships. In this race, Park stormed home on the final lap, moving from 4th to 1st to win by a body length! His winning time of three minutes, 44.30 seconds, more than four seconds outside the world record of 3:40.08 set by the retired Australian Ian Thorpe, but still an amazing race!

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Jason Lezak Wins Men's 400m Freestyle Relay - Beijing Olympics 2008

Garrett Weber-Gale, Jason Lezak, Michael Phelps and Cullen Jones
Garrett Weber-Gale, Jason Lezak, Michael Phelps and Cullen Jones of the United States celebrate finishing the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay Final to win the gold medal and set a world record. Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Phelps was nearly derailed en route to his historic 8 Gold Medals during the 400m Freestyle Relay. Luckily, Jason Lezak keeps Phelps' dream alive, by passing Alain Bernard on the final lap. During this historic finish Lezak swam a blistering 46.06.

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Michael Phelps 7th Gold 2008 Beijing Olympics Swimming Men's 100m Butterfly

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps of the United States competes in the Men's 200m Butterfly. Adam Pretty/Getty Images

The 7th of 8 Gold Medals won by Michael Phelps at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was the most astonishing. In this memorable race, Milorad Cavic lead Phelps the entire race, except for the finish. Many have discredited Cavic's finishing technique during this race, but he did what many swimmers regrettably practice, a heads up finish. A heads up finish creates frontal drag, slowing the swimmer. Often times, this results in an insignificant difference in time, but in this race it was significant, as it allowed Phelps to get his fingertips on the wall first for the win. This in my opinion is the best race of the past decade in my opinion, not because Phelps upset anyone, but due to the fact you have to watch it repeatedly to see if Phelps actually finished first, truly amazing.

1. Michael Phelps
2. Milorad Cavic
3. Andrew Lauterstein

Summary of the Top Races

Now, many of you will feel I missed a race or two, but watch these races and see if they brought exciting finishes. I bet if you watch these you'll understand why I chose them and enjoy each finish.